Award-Winning Documentary on Wildfire Filmed in Siskiyou County

Throw Back Thursday

Fuel, Fire, and Wild Horses from Micah Robin on Vimeo.

This documentary film, Fuel, Fire and Wild Horses, was filmed on location around our Wild Horse Ranchin Siskiyou County and on the OR-CA border by a graduate student from Colorado College, Mr. Micah Robin.

Interestingly, it was filmed in May of 2018, just two months before the deadly Klamathon Fire struck in July of 2018. 

It shows the abnormal grass and brush fuel loading that the local heritage wild horses are trying to control, given the collapse of our local and statewide deer populations. 

The hazardous fuels management and reduction by the wild horses on the Oregon-California border aided CALFIRE’s suppression work. That much was certain and was obvious to the trained eye, and areas of reduced (grazed) fuels can be seen in the film.

Here is an email from Oregon Department of Forestry Ranger, Dave Larson. who is in charge of 1.8-million acres of S.W. Oregon forest, including the wildfire suppression contract for the Cascade Siskiyou National Monument as of 2018. Mr. Larson toured the same area just a month before the Klamathon Fire struck with Mr. William E. Simpson II, and offered this email in regard to what he saw.  

 LARSON Dave * ODF <[email protected]>To:[email protected] <[email protected]>Sent: Saturday, June 9, 2018 at 05:19:20 PM PDTSubject: Hazardous Fuels Mitigation CSNM/Soda MtGood afternoon Bill,I have read several articles that you have written regarding the hazardous fuels conditions in the Cascade Siskiyou National Monument/Soda Mt. Wilderness that surround your property. I appreciate you brining this issue forward and your willingness to provide potential solutions to the current conditions in our forests. The Oregon Department of Forestry provides fire protection through a long term agreement with the BLM and does not have land management authority on federal ownership. Because of the mixed ownership, these lands are intermingled with private lands and I too have great concerns about the buildup of forest fuels on the landscape. This buildup of fuels are making it increasingly difficult to control wildfires and keeping these fires to the smallest size possible. We need to continue to work with our federal partners to find solutions to achieve a more fire resilient landscape. There are a number of potential options available to land managers that can help us be successful in getting to this goal. I would like to see further research and development in the utilization of grazing as a potential fuels reduction tool. Having worked in wildfire for almost 30 years I have personally witnessed how grazed lands in combination with responsible prescribed fire can reduce the intensity and fuel loading on the landscape. Your idea of using wild horses as a potential fuels management tool may be a viable option to consider and I would be in support of the BLM investing in further research. As a fire manager responsible for 1.8 million acres of forestland, I appreciate anything that we can do to maintain a healthy forests for all to enjoy.Please let me know if there is anything else I can do to be of assistance.Thank you,Dave LarsonDistrict ForesterSouthwest Oregon DistrictOregon Department of Forestry==============================And this email:From: KURZYNIEC Jacob * ODF <[email protected]>To: Bill Simpson <[email protected]>Sent: Monday, December 4, 2017 at 09:29:13 AM PSTSubject: RE: Wildfire

” I still like the idea of the horse and I would love to see a controlled area with them to really see what they are capable of. I have seen the work they have done on your property and it looked good but spotty with the low numbers they have. Additionally I really think they have a place in the fuel reduction world…”


 Jacob kurzyniec


At time marks 4-min. 45-sec. and 7-min. 17-sec. in the documentary, there are scenes showing examples of large areas of reduced grass and brush thanks to wild horses managing those hazardous fuels.

CALFIRE made very good use of these effective fire-breaks as safe zones for staging equipment and firefighters in front of the oncoming wind-driven wildfire, and held the fire from reaching the Cascade Siskiyou National Monument (CSNM) and reaching the town of Ashland Oregon.

It’s a fact that Ashland was on standby to evacuate as the Klamathon Fire was approaching the area.

Fuel, Fire and Wild Horses stars David Philipps, NYT reporter and Pulitzer Prize winner, myself, and a neighbor.  

More about why horses are better for wildfire grazing in wilderness areas than cattle, sheep or goats..


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